4 ways IoT will change the workplace

IoT will also play a huge role in workplace usage patterns, fitness, and anti-sedentary campaigns

by Jason Compton

The Internet of Things (IoT) will palpably change office life. Facilities managers and architects are just beginning to recognize the new possibilities created by a workplace where everything—from a lighting fixture to a desk drawer—is a rich data source and ripe for automation.

Change is already underway. Here are four ways IoT is remaking the modern office:

1. Smart office sensors

Regulating the proper temperature for a large, diverse office population has always been complicated. It’s made worse by a lack of precise detail about who is using a space at any given time, and what type of indoor climate they prefer. Smart office sensors are already tracking workspace usage patterns by adjusting lighting and HVAC settings to suit a room’s occupants, as well as those expected to arrive soon.

IoT will also play a huge role in workplace fitness and anti-sedentary campaigns. If a workspace detects that an occupant has been too still for too long, it can alert a wearable device or even the user’s main computer screen that it’s time for a stretch break.

2. Quick, look busy—the boss’s robot is coming

Telepresence gave the conference room a new look and feel. Now, telepresence technology is going mobile. Collaboration or telepresence robots are already being deployed on an experimental basis to put a new spin on the face-to-face meeting experience.

These self-guided robots simulate an in-person meeting, automatically navigating hallways on behalf of a remote user to meet with employees in their own environments. After the meeting is over, the robot automatically moves on to the next scheduled destination and reserved user, or returns to a charging station.

3. A safer, better-organized workplace

From overflowing trash bins and coffee makers in need of a thorough vinegar treatment, to elevators which can self-report that they are due for an overhaul, the Internet of Things will create a cleaner, safer work environment. Even better, it may finally be possible to prove exactly who’s been leaving the break room refrigerator door open.

Architects and designers will also have unprecedented insights into how people truly inhabit their workspaces. Instead of relying on surveys and limited time-and-motion studies, a wealth of day-in, day-out real-world insights will guide everything from cubicle reconfigurations to building construction.

4. New data, new challenges

The workplace IoT will deliver an abundance of new data to all departments, and that will come with new challenges.

A robust, professional-grade machine-to-machine (M2M) platform layer makes deploying and provisioning these devices substantially easier. Sustaining the health of the intelligent workplace IoT will ensure that early gains don’t fade over time.

Read more about Internet of Things solutions.